Decanter travel guide: Cilento, Italy

Escape Campania's tourist hotspots and explore the unspoilt hilltop towns and fishing villages of this exciting wine region. Carla Capalbo shares her Cilento travel guide.

Cilento: Where to stay, eat, shop and relax

HOTELS

Palazzo Belmonte, Santa Maria di Castellabate

This royal summer house is more than a 17th-century palazzo. Its modern suites, private park and beach make this a desirable hideaway for holiday retreats. The beachside restaurant is also open to non-residents. www.palazzobelmonte.com

Marulivo, Pisciotta

Four apartments, a cottage and 11 rooms in a converted 14th-century convent in the centre of the medieval village, with sea views. www.marulivohotel.it

Le Chiusulelle, Ogliastro Cilento

A welcoming agriturismo with homely touches, including handmade baskets and jams. Lovely meals include preserved vegetables from the garden and local salumi. www.agriturismochiusulelle.com

Il Cannito Relais, Capaccio

Set up off the plain above Paestum, this small stone hotel features a pool, comfortable modern rooms and home-cooked meals by arrangement. www.ilcannito.com

RESTAURANTS

Nonna Sceppa, Capaccio-Paestum

Close to the temples, this lively family trattoria cooks some of the area’s best food, with abundant pastas and grilled meats complemented by a great wine list. www.nonnasceppa.com

Trattoria Villa Mare Luna, Pollica

Up a steep winding road from Acciaroli is this restaurant and hotel run by the Scarano family. The house sits in a leafy garden with sea views. The dishes feature delicious cucina rustica: soups, handmade pastas with vegetables and fish, and home-baked cakes. www.hotelvillamareluna.it

Il Rosso e il Mare, Acciaroli

A family of fishermen run this attractive restaurant in one of the Cilento’s favourite sea towns. The redheaded son (the ‘rosso’ in the restaurant name) sends the boat out daily; the female members of the family cook its catch. They also sell their own tuna and anchovies preserved in extra virgin olive oil. www.ilrossoeilmare.it

Da Angiolina, Marina di Pisciotta

On the sea-strip in this small fishing port, Angiolina’s has long been the place for fresh marinated anchovies and local vegetables or pizza if you wish. Eat outdoors in summer. www.ristoranteangiolina.it

La Chocolathera, Sapri

Enzo Crivella knows more about Cilento than anyone, and his chocolate-coffee-wine bar is always buzzing with whoever’s in town. Crivella also makes the area’s best gelati in summer, in a free-standing kiosk on the waterfront, across the street from the shop. Tel: +39 (0973) 984 8418

SHOPS

Santomiele, Prignano Cilento

The Cilento is famous for its fine-seeded, DOP-status white figs; they’re more elegant than their Turkish or Calabrian counterparts. Antonio Longo dries and stuffs them with nuts or chocolate for some very upscale sweetmeats. They’re the best presents to take home. www.santomiele.it

Cooperativa Nuovo Cilento, San Mauro Cilento

This enterprising cooperative olive mill has a shop selling fragrant Cilento DOP extra virgin olive oils and a wonderful restaurant featuring local country food. www.cilentoverde.com

Caseificio Chirico, Velia

This well-run dairy offers a range of cow and buffalo cheeses. Sample the local favourites, including delicate ricotta, aged caciocavallo and the rare mozzarella nella mortella, a Slow Food ‘Presidium’ food. www.caseificiochirico.it

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